Teresa’s Page

July 29, 2014
The plan and the Reality

The plan was, train the women of the church to share the gospel and distribute the Baptist Global Response Hospice Kit. The reality…the women were trained and eager to make their first visit. They had heard through the village grapevine, that the young woman was not doing well. They gathered their Bibles, the bucket, and their courage and made their way to the cinderblock building where the young woman was living. Her parents had died of AIDS, years ago, and her caretakers struggled to care for her. When the ladies arrived, they were unprepared for what they saw. The woman was dying. They did what they had been trained to do. They took the soap and gently bathed her, she had been lying in her own waste for hours, maybe days. They used the lotion to provide relief to the dry, itching skin. They used the soft mats, to replace the soiled ones, and placed a fresh sheet upon her mat. The socks upon her feet, provided warmth, for the house was cold and so was her body. After a few minutes of prayer and singing, the women realized that she had died. She died peacefully, surrounded by people who loved her, cared for her. When delivering the hospice buckets, you always hope to provide some relief to the person whose health is failing, never do you expect to take the other new, fresh sheet that was packed in the bucket by unknown hands that loved, and wrap a body with it. May 2014 176 There was joy among the women, in the midst of their grief…they had a new sheet, a “beautiful sheet” they said, to wrap the thin body in.

The reality of Lesotho is that people are dying. The reality of our life is that death touches all of us. The joy that comes is that we know this young woman had accepted Christ! Thank you Southern Baptist Churches for packing those buckets. May God bless you for your faithfulness!

What you do, when you don’t know what to do…
July 26, 2014

Life in Lesotho is hard. I can remember as a young girl, working to pass my “steps” in GA’s, I came face to face with the circle of poverty. My assignment: make a dress for a needy child. I cut the fabric, I sewed the fabric, I delivered the dress to a “needy child.” I can remember the emotions I felt when I realized that her parents had “chosen” to be unemployed. Living in the US, there are many opportunties for employment. The job you can get, may not be the job you would like to have, but still-it is a job. In Lesotho, there are NO jobs and very few options.

Most families consist of both a mother and a father, unless AIDS has robbed a child of a parent. Today, in the village, I was reminded once again of the discouragement, fear, and frustration the average Masotho woman feels each and every day. A young mother, described her home situation: “I stay home everyday and work for my family. I stay faithful in my marriage. My husband, he disappears for several days, never telling me where he has been. He avoids my questions. I remember one day, going to the clinic and being tested for HIV. The test was positive. I asked my husband, “If I know I am faithful to you, how did I get this disease?” His response, “I am HIV+”, and he continues his life as though his actions only impact himself. The woman lives with the knowledge that she is carrying a life threatening disease, a disease she contracted through no fault of her own. Not only does she worry about herself, but she wonders about her children. How will they survive if I am not here to care for them?

The realization of this year’s failed crops yield has added more stress to the young mothers of the villages in the mountains. There are no jobs. No money. No food. Many have turned to working the fields for others, gathering the “no good corn” and using it to make the homebrew, joala. When someone comes to their home for a drink, they purchase the joala with a handful of corn or beans, enough to feed her children just a little to keep away the pains of hunger for a little while longer.

What would you do if you were in the same position as this young woman? In America, even though we become frustrated with income tax, inflation, and poor wages, we have opportunity. Sometimes I feel guilty opening my pantry in the presence of a national, visiting in my home. More than likely, they have never seen such a bounty. I often wonder why God allowed me to be born into a family where my father provided, my mother loved, and I had the opportunity to hear the gospel at a young age and accept Christ.

I really don’t know what to do? Our resources are limited, the needs are great.

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In my heart, I rest in the knowledge that God is in control, and I wait upon Him to give us His wisdom.

The Power of the Cross…May 1, 2014

Is it wrong to be amazed at the realization that God is working in someone’s life? Even though, I KNOW God has power, and even though I KNOW that HE is sufficient for all things, I find my self totally amazed when I see Him at work. We ask Him to intervene in the lives of the Basotho. When He answers our prayers, I realize how good He truly is.

As we serve among the people of the mountains, the list of those whose lives are changed, is growing.

A middle aged man, understands complete healing by the Great Physician.
A young girl, alone, desperate for love and forgiveness, understands The Compassionate One
A man, with no hope of reconcilation, finds restoration, by a God Who Can
Carrying a suitcase full of memories, a young wife finds hope in the Creator of New Things
A pastor, struggling to feed his family, knows a God Who Provides
An old man…struggling to walk, sees a God Who Saves

In spite of our fumbles, and inadequacies, God continues to use our family to reach the Basotho of the mountains. Loving them one by one. Teaching themApril 2013 226 (640x424) the treasures of the Word. Holding them, encouraging them, crying with them…

All it takes is willingness to be a part, when the Hand of God is at work. I stand amazed.

January 17, 2014

THE HARD TRUE FACTS OF LIFE IN THE MOUNTAINS OF LESOTHO, AFRICA

The death rate, while only a rough indicator of the mortality situation in a country, accurately indicates the current mortality impact on population growth.

RANK COUNTRY

1 South Africa

2 Ukraine

3 Lesotho

Every Saturday many of the villages of the mountains are ready. Ready for what? FUNERALS It is often likely that when we arrive AT one of our Saturday ministry sites, we will be told there is a funeral in the village, and we cannot teach that day. This past Monday, the same thing happened. We drove 40 minutes to the village of Ha Rapooea. When we arrived and started up the “no road” mountain, the chief’s wife flagged us down as she was walking to the local shop. There was a funeral in Ha Rapooea on Monday. Did we know the person who had died? No, but there are hundreds just like the young woman that was being buried. Their story often the same. Young mother. Several young children. No money. No food. No clothes. The father goes to South Africa to work in the mines. He is gone for months at a time, most often coming home only at Christmas and Easter break. Christ does not live in the man, so he lives in the flesh. He needs a woman, so he visits the MANY prostitutes, also young women with no money and no hope. He contracts HIV. He comes home for Christmas, he gives the disease to his young wife. He returns to the mines. This time, he discovers, it is easier and less expensive if he just relocates to S. Africa, permanently. He never returns. The young wife, who depends upon the small amount of money he had intermittently sent home to help feed the family, is desperate. Again, no jobs in the mountains. She too goes to South Africa to work, crossing the border illegally because she does not have a passport, no money. She is arrested, spends time in jail. She becomes weak due to poor nutrition, inadequate living conditions, and the disease grows in her body. When discharged from jail she is too weak to work. She returns home….dies. More orphans. More sorrow. More despair. Lesotho, the third highest HIV/AIDS rate in the world. Lesotho, the third highest mortality rate in the world. The answer? A relationship with Jesus Christ. Will you PRAY?

Sad Day….Happy Day…Every Day September 24, 2013

Every day I look in the mirror expecting to see a head of white hair, but so far it hasn’t happened. Some days, living on the mission field, is just plain stressful…yesterday was one of those days. As a nurse, for a million years, I have certain expectations. I expect people to be treated fairly and with compassion and care, regardless of their economic status, regardless of the color of their skin. I expect there to be a certain amount of privacy for a patient in a bed, when a treatment is taking place. I expect the patient’s needs to be addressed with competence and skill. I expect there to be running water, the simplest of things. Expectations are often not met, and I am learning, better off left at home. The people mill around the hospital, offering greetings and smiles, regardless of their situation and pain. Excitement is in the air at the prospect of seeing a doctor. A doctor that is overworked, and most of the time displaced from his own country of origin. Today, as I reflect upon yesterday’s events, I am just plain tired. In America, a patient a few days post stroke, would be receiving intensive physical therapy and counseling. They would be taught how to adjust to “life”, a different life that they are used to. They would be surrounded by supportive friends and family, cheering them on and thanking God that their family member is still living and breathing, regardless of their now present handicap. Instead, our friend, is in a strange city, surrounded by strange people. His care is provided by health professionals that are tired. There are not enough doctors, not enough nurses, not enough resources. It so difficult for me to separate myself from my American mindset of medicine, and cope in the land of “lack”. Yet, in the middle of these struggles, God reigns. The young mother, in preterm labor, confined to the hospital grounds, separated from her husband, her children, her church, her village…sits on plastic mattress, lying on an antique hospital bed, and she sings the praises of her King. She sings loud enough, that the other women, also waiting, are curious. Just who is this King? How can there be joy in this place? What kind of woman is this? The village gathers, curious to see why a white man and woman would walk down a mountain to see a man they do not know, a man dying of AIDS. They recognize the young Masotho man at their side, he is now known as Maruti. A pastor? From our own village? What kind of man is this? He stands by the woman’s side, something is different about these people. What is behind the joy that we see on this young pastor’s face? She walks to her village, not the same woman that left the village just 2 weeks ago. Her steps are strong, her cane not needed. She breathes without pain, the doctor has said, now you will live…at least a while longer. Her smile is contagious, knowing where she came from and seeing where she has arrived. She has heard the story of Jesus, and she wonders, does He love…even me? The young man, lies in a foreign city, quiet, wondering what his life will look like tomorrow. He takes the Bible, with his left hand. His right hand, still refusing to work, lays at his side. He opens the Bible, remembering the words…”I will never leave you or forsake you.” His smile consumes his face with the realization that he is not alone. Another man, the older brother, sits on a rock in the field, near his village. The animals are grazing, the farmers are planting. He wonders about the words that were spoken to him yesterday, in the back seat of a Lottie Moon pickup. Words about a Savior, who gave His life, so that he could live. The words spoken by a national pastor, who carries a heavy burden for a friend, who has had a stroke, and will never know life as before. These words light a flame in the heart of the missionary. The flame starts today as a small flicker, threatening to be smothered by the troubles of the world. The Holy Spirit, in all of His power, and faithfulness, fans the flame. The missionary’s own spirit is renewed, her heart lighter since the burdens of the day are now sitting at the feet of Jesus. Today is another day that may bring another challenge. The joy of knowing that Jesus died for her and that He uses weak people to accomplish His purposes is enough motivation to get up and get going….the Basotho, they need a Savior. The missionary, she has a story to tell.

Not Really Sure What to Say…Sept 2013
In just a few days, we are going to take a trip to a place that I would rather not visit. We are going to leave our girls with ‘Me Thato, I don’t want them to go with us, the place we are visiting… is just that kind of place. The Women’s Prison of our province, I have never been there, but I cannot imagine it being a very pleasant place. There is a young woman there, that I cannot forget. I have never met her, I have only seen her from a distance, but her image is impressed upon my heart. What would drive a young woman to such desperation that she felt she had to take the life of her newborn child? What would make her take the breath of that child away and then lead her to dispose of the tiny body in a nasty hole created only for bodily waste? How could she possibly justify her actions? When I meet her, what will I say to begin the conversation? I hardly think it appropriate to talk about the village happenings or the spring-like weather. In our years in ministry, I have talked to a LOT of people, but never have I spoken to someone who was in prison for killing their own child. I have thought about how things could have been different if this young mother would have had anyone she could confide in. What if she would have asked for advice or help? I pray that when I meet her, God speaks through me, that from my mouth come words of promise, words of hope. I will tell her an old story, one that was written in a timeless book, that will offer her the hope she is seeking, give her the joy her life has been missing. I will tell her of a Savior of forgiveness, that no matter how horrible a crime, his forgiving power, wipes the transgression away, never to be remembered again. For this woman, this is a story she has more than likely never heard. I pray I get the opportunity to hold her for just a minute, and that through my love she experiences just a little of what it feels like to be cared for, even in forgotten places like a prison, in the middle of nowhere Africa.

Good and Bad….He is Sufficient in All

Life in Africa tends to bring a roller coaster of emotions. I sometimes wonder how the things that we see and experience will impact our children. How many 9 year olds have experienced the things that Rebekah has seen and heard? This past week was no exception. We had a difficult Friday when we received news that one of the men training to be a pastor was killed. He was in our home every single Wednesday for pastoral training, he led the men in singing, he ate at our table, our girls served him coffee with 2 spoons of sugar each morning. The violence surrounding his death is so difficult to understand.

On Saturday, there was great joy in the village of Makhoabateng. Gracie led a new momma to Jesus. We celebrated the birth of the new baby girl as well as praised God for the new birth of the baby’s mom. On Sunday, what a great day of worship! We are now able to sing the songs in Sesotho as we worship with our friends, and were totally surprised when one of Gracie’s young deaf friends, stood and proudly shared her story of new life in Christ with the entire congregation. There is no way to describe the joy and excitement the small congregation expressed over this victory for Rorysong and the glory that I know God received through her efforts.

Today, we taught in the village of Ha Rapooea. When we arrived, the police were there and the people were gathered around the home of the chief. A young woman was arrested. Her crime was so horrible that I hated to even answer Rebekah’s questions of “what is wrong, Momma?” This young unmarried woman gave birth to a healthy baby girl. For some reason, she choose to end the life of the little one by choking her baby until it died. She then placed the body of the baby in the bucket reserved for scraps fed to the hogs, carried the bucket outside, and dumped the little body into the long drop toilet. To anyone, this would seem such a horrible desperate crime….to the village, life goes on. The life of the African is so difficult. I was appalled at the actions of the young mother. I cried, trying to understand her desperation. It occurred to me that in my own home country, the value of life of the unborn, has been minimized to the extent that Americans have convinced themselves that abortion is an action of convenience and choice, not murder. I really cannot see the difference. In both cases a life is taken…after all, it was the mother’s own free choice that led her to commit this crime.

A few days ago, when Jimmy wrote in his blog, describing the actions of the young shepherd that killed our friend, so many wrote with words of comfort. Some wrote, as if they were sitting in judgment of the African. I have to ask, truly, what is the difference between the American and the African? The main difference I see is that we, as Americans, have had full access to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ for hundreds of years. Most of the Africans, living in Lesotho, have never even heard His name. How can we expect the Basotho to act in a way that brings glory to a God they do not know? America should know better, but we continue to choose to disregard the truths of God’s Word, living our own lives, in our own way.

My prayer is that this young mother finds Christ in the middle of her tragedy. As we taught today, He’s grace is sufficient. He forgives our sin. His sacrifice upon the cross was enough. In our desperate times, He is there. Please pray as we continue to work in the village of Ha Rapooea. Pray that God reveals Himself to these people, that lives are saved, and the value of life, any life…whether American or African… is understood.

The Basotho Continue to Steal my Heart…
February 9, 2011

It seems like forever since I have had the time to sit for a minute and write down the feelings of my heart. We have been home in Africa for almost a month now. It was traumatic to all of us leaving our family once again. We keep thinking of how old the grandkids will be when we see them again, and wonder if our relationship with them will continue to be as strong and sweet as it is now. We understand that when you live on the other side of the world, away from family and friends, that the relationships can change. We pray daily that God keeps our family ties strong and that our kids and even our grandkids, in their childlike way, continue to understand our calling and realize that our call to Lesotho is a call of submission and obedience to God. We have always called it our “family journey”, not just something that God expects of Mom and Dad.

We are busy already with volunteers and that is always such a good time. All the home miles we traveled telling the story of the Basotho, so many times, is paying off. We have teams scheduled for almost every month in 2013.

FBC Perryton, TX just left the mountains earlier this week. They met with God in the Matsoku Valley and chose this valley to embrace as partners with the Flora family in reaching the Basotho for Christ. They are excited, but at the same time, understand the huge responsibility that God has given them. They will return in June and will work independently of our family, multiplying our work efforts. We continue to pray that other churches will also be called to embrace and engage the mountain Basotho. The magnitude of the job God has assigned us to is overwhelming at times. The need so great, the terrain so rough, and the time so short. The mountain Basotho are dying. We were unable to teach at two villages yesterday because of funerals that were being held.

What a sweet reunion it has been returning back to Lesotho. Yesterday, we were leaving the village of Ha Tsalebeli. As we rounded the corner, leaving the village of Mapaleng, there was an old woman standing in the road, asking us to stop. This normally means there is a need that someone needs help. As we got closer to the woman, we recognized her as “Baby Grunt and Baby Weske’s” Nkhono (grandmother). Jimmy stopped the truck and I got out to see what she needed- she hugged me and then began to cry. It is so unusual to see a Mosotho cry for any reason other than the death of a child. She began to talk fast and cry harder. She was talking so fast, the only words I could make out were “kea leboha”…“kea leboha Molimo!” I asked our translator exactly what the Nkhono was saying and why she was crying. ‘Me Thato began to laugh and told Jimmy and I that the lady was saying over and over again- “You have returned from America! I thought you were going to be gone forever. I did not think you would return. I am so happy to see you. I am thankful to God for bringing you back home. Thank you God! I am so thankful!”

This mom and grandma has been loved, been prayed for, been witnessed to, has heard the Story so many times. Julie has held her grandbabies. Stan and Angie have modeled before her in prayer and Bible study. Abigail taught her grandchildren how to play softball. Claire taught her how to make cornbread and used her nursing skills to provide healing. Jim Jr, has preached the Truth of God‘s Word in her presence. Sara Jo told a Bible story and received a chicken. Rebekah has bathed Baby Grunt while I cared for her poor malnourished body. Jimmy has baptized her daughter. Bruce and Scotty have spoken truth into her heart. Brandon and Kendra have played games, held children, and laughed with her. Cara, Kelsey, Taylor, and so many from Perryton have taught her to sing Making Melodies. Emily and Laura spent 4 ½ months teaching and modeling joy that comes only through Christ. FBC Perryton has invested hours pouring themselves into the villagers of Mapaleng. Grace and Anna have visited her village long enough that the children call out their names when we pass by. The women in the fields stop working when they see our truck and hold up their hand, signing “I love you.” Kylan sat in the hut beside her dad and I, as we ministered to a young woman, whose body was fighting the horrible disease of AIDS that has taken the lives of so many in this village. As we demonstrated to her family how to use the items in the Baptist Global Response HIV/AIDS bucket, the gospel was introduced, and the “Story” told once again. I could go on and on and on listing names of those who have sacrificed their money and time to come and bring Jesus to her village.

So while I miss our family so much my heart literally feels pain, I am reminded that the God of the universe, for some reason, has chosen Jimmy and I to live among these people. When there seems to be so many that are better qualified and much more able, He has chosen us. I am amazed and grateful…these people have a place in my heart that only they can fill.

The joy that comes in following Christ in obedience is without comparison. The journey is often so difficult and I am continuously reminded that His grace is sufficient and His mercies are new every morning. His power cannot be matched. His love is never ending. His wisdom cannot be surpassed. He is enough.

Pray with me as I thank God this morning for the place He has called us to serve. Pray that the “church” continues to hear the voice of God calling them to the mountains of Lesotho. Pray that the people will hear and God will provide salvation to the land. Pray that this Nkhono will accept Jesus as her Savior before her body gives in to the harsh living conditions that come with the poverty and disease that surround her.

Looking forward to the day when I am sitting at the foot of Jesus singing songs of praise, with my Basotho friends sitting beside me.

Walking the mountains until ALL have heard, Teresa

Lefu ka Afrika

October 17, 2011

 

Just a little boy, struggling to exist. Swollen, unable to move, a grandmother fighting for life. Stamped in the medical book, the Bukana, the word of death-AIDS.

Everyday is the same. A baby is born into the dark world of rural Africa, another dies.

 If I dwell too long on the hopeless life of the African, living in the bush or the remote mountain villages, I could become overwhelmed with sadness. For hundreds of years, the life of the African has been so difficult.

 There is a reason it is often called the Dark Continent.  Darkness surrounds the hearts of the people.  Darkness penetrates their very soul.  They live in fear of the things of the night,  and most of the mountain Basotho have never heard of the Light.

I think back to my studies of slavery in Africa. People, one day living their life in their village, surrounded by family and friends…the next day, shackled in chains, numb with fear. No consideration of human rights. Cruelty becomes their destiny, their destiny controlled by another human felt to be superior in race, knowledge, and power.

 As always, my heart cries on behalf of the children. What have they done to deserve the pain they experience? Hunger…disease…death…The little ones live their life accepting the day to day turmoil as normal. They awaken from their sleep, lying on the dung floor. They are bathed, if their mother is present. They are given food to eat, if there is any left.  In the mountains, most of the babies are not given a name upon their birth.  The family waits for a full year, not acknowledging the fact that the baby is already a person.  For the mountain Basotho, life does not begin until after age 1.  There are too many children that never see the one year anniversary of their birth.  Too many mothers grieve silently for a lost life.

‘Me MaTumo struggles, really struggles. She cares endlessly for her children and grandchildren. Day after day she works to provide for their needs. More than one year ago, she gave her life to Christ. Her trade, selling homebrew joala, stopped when she became a Christian. How can she provide food, clothing, school uniforms and fees…the list goes on. God has proven Himself as the Provider. She knows Him as Faithful.

 Now…baby Tsepo is sick again. HIV+ and malnourished in spite of his grandmother’s efforts to provide nourishment. He is the youngest of her grandchildren. His mother is not there and hasn’t been for several months. So, everyday ‘Me MaTumo ties the baby on her back. She washes his bottles in the unclean water that comes from the tap. She washes his diapers, soiled with diarrhea. She offers him porridge, only to have him throw it up again. She caresses his dry skin, skin draped on his tiny bones.   He smiles when he sees her face, realizing that she is the one caring for him and loving him most.  She prays.  She waits.  She strives, and she hopes.

'Me MaTumo

She hopes that God will once again prove Himself as the Provider…the Provider of life.

Baby Tsepo

 

 

Making Papa!

 

The Papa Stick

“It’s all fun and games, until someone gets an eye poked out.” The first time I heard this, I cracked up. Jimmy’s daddy, our Pap-paw, would say this when the boys were rough housing and there was a threat of injury. I thought about his saying a couple of weeks ago when we rounded the curve into the village of Makoabane. There were kids everywhere, mostly teen girls. They were standing on the side of the road, waving at us and watching a particular girl standing up the mountain a ways. In her hand she was holding a big stick…a papa stick. A papa stick is the big stick that the ‘Me will use when stirring the papa. Do you remember that papa is the main staple of the Basotho? Papa is made by building a fire with potsi and placing the 4 legged cast iron papa pot, its size depending upon the number you have to feed, on the fire. You fill the pot with water and a little salt. Get the water boiling really good and then begin to pour mealie meal into the water. You stir it constantly as you are pouring…I mean really stir it. This is not an activity for the weak, this is hard work! You are bent over the hot fire stirring the mealie meal into an almost cement consistency. Your tool for stirring is the papa stick.

The Basotho have a game that has been handed down from generation to generation, and it was this game that the girls in the village of Makoabane were playing. At this time of the year, rain is nearly non-existent and is really needed. The fields have been plowed and the seed has been planted. The people are waiting on the rain. The conversation at the market centers around everyone’s idea of when the rains will come. When the situation gets really desperate the girls take it upon themselves to make the rain happen. They go to a neighboring village and try to steal a papa stick. The girls who live in the village that is being robbed begin to chase the offenders. They play tug-a-war, chase, pull, poke, and whoever ends up with the stick must run and deliver it to the village chief. The winning village will soon see rain! At the contest we witnessed, the village of Khokhoba won the papa stick. This past Friday, Saturday, and Sunday the rains came in abundance. Was it the stick that brought the rain or God’s provision?  The Basotho are confused about the Maker of the Rain as well as a host of other things.

As for me,  I am going with God.

 

…a time to mourn and a time to dance…

Ecclesiastes 3:4 

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Even for the woman who was raised in a Christian home, hearing the stories from the Bible from an early age, it is often difficult to understand the ways of God. One year ago, a Masotho woman told me that I would one day become accustomed to the death that surrounds the people living in the Maluti Mountains. One year later, that has not happened. I still feel the pain and the loss when I am confronted with death. This morning is no exception. Our good friend and brother, Moruti Malopo is hurting. His son has died. Like all new parents, there were expectations accompanying the baby’s birth. “Maybe God will give us a son! He will grow up to be a man of God. Maybe…” On the way to the hospital, in a broken down beat up pickup, the baby was born. On the side of the river…alone a mother and a father. The baby was born dead. Moruti had tried to call me several times in the early morning hours, seeking help. The cell phone towers were down again. At 5:20 this morning he was at our gate. “The nurses need you ‘Me, teh baby has been born and they are asking for your help” he said. The nurses wanted me to confirm their fears…could I hear what they could not?…the heartbeat of this baby…a time to die. ‘Me Zaphora is a nurse/midwife, a Christian, a member of the little church at Khokhoba. The parents brought their child to her, hoping she could save it….a time to weep.

A little boy, curly blonde hair, our firstborn. He had all the advantages of living in a Christian home, in a country founded on religious freedom. He grew up loving the Word of God and understanding its worth. He married a beautiful young woman and they started their family. Committed to obedience to Christ they follow Him. Yesterday, the little boy…now a man, was ordained to the gospel ministry. He will spend the rest of his life preaching the Word of God. His wife will stand beside him in submission to God’s will for their lives. Walking in faith, trusting in Him.

Two little boys, born years and worlds apart. God chose for one to live and another to die. God in His sovereignty is all knowing and all faithful. His ways are perfect and my understanding of His ways is not necessary. It is enough to know that He is God. 

A little girl, our granddaughter Ellie, accepted Christ and her daddy…our son, baptized her yesterday.

…a time to dance!

 
 
 
 
“No One EVER Told Us”
September 2011
 
It is hard to believe that there are people living in the world that have NEVER heard the name of Jesus.  It is almost harder to believe that there are those who have never held a Bible in their hands.  Every week, in the Maluti Mountains of Lesotho, we met people who fall into these two categories.  The few that are fortunate enough to have a Bible, have no idea what it means to them personally.  We have lived in the mountains for almost 3 years now.  We have loved on the people, we have cried with them, we have rejoiced with them.  We come home many times from the villages amazed at what God is doing and sometimes overwhelmed at all the work that is yet to be done.  The Basotho of the mountains, continue to live in a “backwards” world of tradition that includes worship of the ancestors.  Many of them have no idea why they pray to them, why they offer the feast to those who have died.  Most of them know, but are afraid to say it outloud.  This past weekend we were asked to address the issue of ancestor worship.  Jimmy studied, we prayed, and we went to the villages of Ha Kanono, Mapaleng, and Makoabateng.  The people gathered and the teaching began.  There were those who nodded in agreement, there were those who hid their faces, and there were even those who argued traditional and ritualistic beliefs.  Jimmy, as always, challenged the people to search the scriptures for evidence that what they are doing is allowed or encouraged by God.  He took them to scripture that clearly states that there is but ONE mediator between man and God, and that is Jesus Christ.  As the people followed along in their Bible, they acknowledged that the Bible is Truth…and said, “NO ONE HAS EVER TOLD US THIS BEFORE.”  In one village, there is a great number of Roman Catholics living there.  The priest has told the people that they do not need Bibles, he can tell them anything that they want to know.  When we introduced the topic of them seeing Mary as a way to access God, they agreed that it was true.  When we reminded them that the Bible clearly states that there is ONE mediator, they became confused.  Years and years of false teaching.  Years and years of traditional beliefs…passed down through generations.  Walls of opposition that will not fall quick enough for the Truth to penetrate the hearts of the multitides that are dying each day without Christ. 
Prayer is needed to fight the battle of darkness…will you pray?  Will you commit to daily, hourly prayer for the mountain Basotho?  They need Jesus and Satan is trying to win the battle by confusion and lies.
 
 
 
 
A “now” missionary living in the “wait” world of Lesotho, Africa
August 18, 2011
 
If you were to read a list of all my attributes, the list would not be long and definately would not include the art of patiently waiting.  I think it is funny, sometimes think it is funny, that God has chosen to send me to the world of wait….Lesotho, Africa.  There are many words that I could choose to describe the people that God has called us to serve, the Basotho of the Maluti Mountains.  Some of those words could include:
  • strong
  • friendly
  • fun to hang out with
  • confused about who God is
  • ignorant of Jesus Christ
  • Bibleless
  • brown
  • beautiful smiles

and…VERY PATIENT.   Jimmy says they have to be patient, their life demands patience and their life is all that they have ever known.  I often find myself in the middle of a culture of wait and I want action-NOW! 

I want action when the doctor says he will be at the hospital on Monday and it is now Thursday and my friend is still waiting to have her csection incision “restitched.”

I want to see results when the land council is holding the 2 year old paperwork that is needed in order for us to move to Mokhotlong and begin working there.

I would like for someone to tell me how long it takes to repair the washing machine that entered the repair shop in August of 2010, how long I must wait for the part for the light fixture to come in, how long ‘Ntate John must wait for the electronically delivered paycheck to reach the local bank with no internet access, for my sweet friend’s husband to decide to be faithful, for the new Christian to take the bottle of the sangoma off of his neck, and for teenage girls to decide that “waiting” until marriage really is the best plan.

Why would a God of action send a missionary of action to the land of wait?

Isaiah 40:28-31 says, “Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired.  His understanding is inscrutable.  He gives strength to the weary, and to Him who lacks might He increases power.  Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who WAIT for the LORD will regain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”

Waiting on Him…because HE is God and I am not!  🙂  Teresa

 

 
August 9, 2011…I couldn’t believe it!
Living in Africa has allowed us to have many new experiences…some good, and some not so good. A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to experience the “not so good.”  If you know me, you know that I went to college YEARS ago to become a registered nurse.  I believe that God has gifted me with a heart that sees people’s pain and He has given me the desire to try to help those people. I believe in quality care and have often referred to nursing as a career in caring. I recently had the opportunity to see that not all health care providers think the same way.  My sweet friend called me a couple of Fridays ago.  She was in the hospital, had just delivered twins and said “PLEASE COME!”  Of course, I went.  When we approached the hospital, we were a little confused about where the entrance was so we asked the men sitting around the flower bed where we should enter.  Come to find out, the 8 or so men sitting there were prisoners.  Prisoners in Lesotho are dressed in red sweaters and are wrapped with red blankets.  This has absolutely nothing to do with my story, but we learned something new.  The door that they pointed to was up the ice covered stairs and had a handwritten note taped to it that identified it as the “maternity ward.”  We entered the room after calling out the official “koko” that means knock-knock.  The women inside responded “kena” which means enter.  There were 4 women gathered around a pot belly stove, shoving twigs and paper scraps into the stove, trying to stay warm.  These were the mommas.  They each had an old time hospital bed and their babies were snuggled under the blankets.  No newborn nursery.  From the time the baby is born, it is the mother’s responsibility to care for them.  My friend was fortunate enough to have a private room.  This very small room is actually attached to the nurse’s office/labor room and there was constant traffic down the middle of the room.  The patients are responsible for distributing their own medications. The nurses give them a small bag when they are admitted with their meds inside, directions written on the bag.  Each mom must wash her own clothes, baby diapers, empty her chamber pot, hang her clothes on the line, get her own water-from the outside long distance tap. My friend had a c-section and still was required to serve herself. The mom brings her own blanket from home, or she doesn’t have one.  She also must bring her own bath basin, towel, washcloth, cup, plate, etc.  Her meals consisted of dried up beans, cold moroho and a little bit of papa. She provides her own sanitary pads.  If she does not have any, she must find an outside visitor to go to the store and buy some, if she has money.  If she has no money, she must use whatever she can find that will serve the purpose.  In the mountains, many of the women use brush gathered from the side of the mountain.  My friend entered the hospital pre-eclamptic and her blood pressure had not been taken since she had delivered. I was introduced to the nurse, who was not too happy to see the white faced American.  I was escorted to the hospital administrator’s office, who was very nice by the way.  While I was away, my friend was forced to sign a document, that she could not read, saying that if she left the hospital that day, she would not be allowed to return if she developed a problem.  The Basotho woman has no rights, no privacy, and my friend received no help.  Twins, no family to help, no formula for the crying babies (her milk had not yet come in), no pampering, no nothing.
I thought about the birth of our sons.  If we wouldn’t have been in such a progressive hospital with competent and caring nurses and doctors, our sons may not have lived.  I had family surrounding me.  All my requests were granted..all my needs met.  When we arrived home, there were balloons welcoming us.  When my friend arrived home the following Monday, her mat was on the floor, her husband away trying to make money, her daughter out of school so that she could stay home to care for the other children.  There was no soft bed, no decorated nursery, there was not even any food…other than the corn from the field drying on the outside tarp.
Needless to say, the entire event stressed me out.  I had been in a couple of hospitals in Lesotho, all of them run basically the same.  I wanted to do something to fix the problem.  There was little that I could do.  Jimmy reminded me that I could not change the government health care system.  I could not demand that my friend be treated fairly…in rural Africa they accept unfairness.  What could I do?
  Love the momma and pray that the joy of Christ is evident to her as I care for her and her babies.  What did I want to do?  Smack a few people upside the head…but missionaries probably shouldn’t do that sort of thing.
 
 
 
It has been a while since I have posted to my page.  A few of the front page posts were mine, but not many.  My arm is just now allowing me to move more, hopefully I will be back to normal soon.  Today, I received such a huge blessing that I had to post about it, even if it caused me a little pain.  In the village of Ha Kanono, there lives an old woman.  If you follow our blog, you have heard of her before…’Me MaBusa.   ‘Me MaBusa is in her 80’s and was our first Christian in this village.  We love this old woman so very much.  Her joy is complete in Christ!  I am not sure that in all of my years of serving in the ministry I have ever seen anyone with greater joy.  Her Jesus is her joy….she tells everyone that she is now a follower of Jesu Christi.  ‘Me MaBusa’s granddaughter had been living with her until time for the delivery of her 3rd child. It is customary for the nkhono-grandmother to serve as the midwife and deliver the children born into the family.  When we arrived at the village yesterday morning, ‘Me MaBusa was looking for me.  The granddaughter had delivered her baby a few hours before our arrival and ‘Me MaBusa insisted that I accompany her to the rondavel…the mom was having trouble.  When I arrived, the mother was still sitting on the birthing mat.  She had retained part of the placenta and was bleeding.  I prayed, removed the placenta, and gave instructions to the mother and grandmother of the new momma.  I examined the beautiful baby.  She was already several hours old according to the bo ‘me, but had not yet nursed.  The baby was uncooperative with my efforts.  I gave more instructions and left, promising to return today.  I slept little last night, waking often to pray for the momma and her baby.  Today, after church we returned to check on the mom and baby.  When I entered the home, the mom greeted me with a beautiful smile…all she could say was, ” ‘Me Teresa, ‘Me Teresa…”  She was fine.  She turned, picked up a bundle, and handed it to me.  It was the baby!  Her eyes were open and it seemed as though she was wondering..”Who is this white woman holding me?”  The room full of women all laughed at me.  We spent several minutes admiring the baby.  I asked, “What have you named her?”  The mother said, “We want you to give her the name.”  What an honor!  I thought for a minute and named the little one..ANNA GRACE. I explained to the family gathered that Anna means-source of joy and that Grace means-God’s unmerited favor.  They were thrilled, responding…”Ke rata lebitso.”  I love the name! I then shared with them the night spent in prayer and God’s faithfulness in answering my prayers.  ‘Me MaBusa was so thrilled she stood and began to dance…I couldn’t help but join her….what a wonderful time of joy.  Women, created by the hand of God, women…one white, several brown…laughing and celebrating the birth of a child…TO GOD BE THE GLORY…FOR HE HAS DONE GREAT THINGS!
(PS-this was the second baby I was asked to name this week…the first was Tsepo’s new daughter…her name is Abigail Faith Sephepha)
Here is a picture of Anna Grace…isn’t she a beauty?
 
 
 
 
 
 Don’t forget to visit Jason and Kelly’s blog started to invite us all to join them in their adoption journey to bring their baby home…speaking of babies…soon I will be Mammie to 3 more grandbabies and the mother of a pastor!  God’s blessings are bringing this missionary GREAT JOY!
 

 More “BREAKING NEWS” to share with you….will post just as soon as we get permission!

By the way, I would never kill my husband for posting a picture of me.  I can’t believe he would even think such a thing.  If I kill him, who will fold the laundry, stir the beans, carry the things that are “too heavy” for me to carry…:)  I have to keep him around.  Kill him?  Never!  Make him wish he wouldn’t have posted that picture?  You bet!  🙂

God is not only working in the hearts of the Basotho, He is working in the hearts of the Jim and Teresa Flora family…stay tuned!

 

 

 
In less than 24 hours, 2 of her grandchildren have died

I sat on the animal skin mat, covering the dung floor, in the rondavel of Baby Grunt.  ‘Ntate Jimmy sat on the wooden bench leaning against the wall.  Ten women joined us inside, all coming to show their love to a grieving mother and grandmother.  We shared words from our hearts, but more importantly, words from the Bible.  As the tears trickled down the cheeks of the young mother, I wiped the tears from my own eyes.  I prayed that God would reveal Himself to these people in the midst of their pain.  This morning, early, Nkhono received word from a far away village that her 3 month old grandchild had died during the night.  Two grandchildren dying in a 24 hour time span. 

 Tonight… Jim and Sara Jo…when you tuck Abigail, Ellie Kate, and JD into their beds…will you hug them extra for Mammie and Poppa?

 

 
Sometimes, Being a Missionary to Africa Stinks….March 25, 2011
Gracie was afraid for me to say that being a missionary, sometimes stinks.  I think she thinks that Dr. Eliff, the new IMB President, reads our blog.  In her mind if he reads the title of this blog, we are on a slow boat back to the US.  I think Dr. Eliff has better things to do than read my blog, and I also think that there were probably days in the life of Lottie Moon when she thought, “This stinks!”  Today was a good news/bad news kinda day.  The good news, my friend, who was recently raped is doing well-thank you for praying for her.  She will join me at my home this coming Wednesday for a ladies Bible study and then learn how to make cornbread.  Good news!
The bad news…about a year and a half ago a baby was born.  We called her “Baby Grunt.”  We called her that because of the sound that she made when she breathed.  Her grandmother stopped us on the road one day, she had heard that ‘Me Teresa was a nurse.  I examined the baby and put her on antibiotics and an oral rehydration drink.  We provided formula as a supplement for the baby.
 
  After a week, she was better, but still had some breathing issues.  We arranged for Missionary Aviation Fellowship to pick her up at the airstrip and fly her to Maseru.  She returned to her village one month later, much better.  Her family was SO happy and thankful.  The grandmother presented us a chicken.
 
She continued to develop and grow normally. We saw her from time to time, always with her grandmother. She was getting fat! Today, Jimmy was driving to her village when he met the grandmother. She had the baby on her back. The baby became sick during the early morning. She had walked 6 hours on foot to get her to the clinic. When she got to the clinic, the nurses took a look at her and told her to take her to the hospital. The problem is the hospital is another million miles away and the grandmother had no money to pay for a taxi. As she walked back to her village I can only imagine what she must have been thinking…”What will I do? Where can I get the money?” As she continued on her way the baby, tied to her back, died. When Jimmy came upon the grandmother, she told him that the baby was dead. As he delivered the grandmother and her dead grandchild to their village, he heard the grandmother telling the baby where they were going. If you remember from an earlier post, when someone dies and the body is returned back home, the family tells the spirit of the person where they are going. The grandmother is still not a Christian. She has been coming to our Bible studies for over a year now, but continues to hold tight to her traditional beliefs. Tomorrow, I will go to her house. It will be a time where I once again remind her that Jesus Christ is the answer to her pain.
  
 
 
   When we fall You are the Savior, when we call You are the AnswerMarch 9, 2011

A quiet woman who hides her face when you speak to her. She had just started to smile at me when I greeted her. A new Christian, a baby in her faith. Alone, with just her two small children when the men rushed into her rondavel. Her husband had gone to help his ailing grandparents, just for the day. She had no one to call out to. She had no place to run to. They raped her.
 
Wednesday…again
 
43B Pelaneng, Katse Village, Lesotho, Africa…Today
  • awakened before we were ready to begin our day to the sound of the cell phone ringing.  We couldn’t find the phone, because Jimmy’s eyes wouldn’t focus long enough to find it.  Finally, he finds it just as it stops ringing.  It was one of the men unable to attend pastor training today
  • up and running…one arm cooking with the girls…a HUGE pot of beef vegetable soup, chocolate and vanilla pudding parfaits, cornbread, coconut cake, boiled eggs, tea, and “drinkie”
  • the gate bell rings… ‘Me MaLiphoa and ‘Me MaThomo are at the gate.  Jimmy is gone to pick up pastors, Thato has not yet arrived.  I play charades, speak Sesotho, and dig out the Sesotho/English dictionary for approximately one hour explaining to the bo ‘me that the bottle of sunscreen I handed them is for the little albino boy in their village
  • tea, peanut butter sandwiches, and “drinkie” for the bo ‘me
  • Thato arrives…’Me MaLiphoa is introduced to running water and a hot bubble bath while ‘Me MaThomo stands watching our washing machine wash the clothes, rinse them, and spin
  • ‘Me MaThomo’s turn for a bubble bath…she runs from the bathroom laughing like crazy… she has NO idea how to turn the water off, even though this is her second bubble bath at our house.  ‘Me MaLiphoa, the now “expert” in running water, runs to her aid and they both are laughing hysterically
  • ‘Me MaLiphoa spends the next half hour trying to convince me that Rebekah needs to marry her son, Labonka.  She watches Rebekah do her math and play an educational game on the computer and is amazed at the sounds that the computer makes and the fact that Rebekah is left handed
  • the men arrive, take off their shoes, and enter the living room where the coffee, tea, and homemade bread awaits them..they have HUGE smiles on their faces
  • the gate bell rings….a man and lady are there asking if they can go through our trash and pick out the used jars.  They want to preserve their peaches.  I have 6 jars under the cabinet and give them to them.  They are so thankful
  • the phone rings once and goes dead.  That is what the Basotho call “flashing”…it means, I don’t have enough airtime to complete the call, you call me back and we will use YOUR airtime.  It is Tsepo…he is going to the LSPP office to try once again to track down the lease number for the farm….PRAY!
  • I hear the men in the living room laughing, then the room gets quite and I hear Jimmy teaching again…at one time he comes into the dining room looking for a dry erase board and marker, then he shows them his senior picture and I hear the laughing start up again…:)
  • lunch time!  Maruti Malopo shows up…that man is always smiling.  I sat back and watched the men eat, enjoying their satisfaction and watching their eyes get big when they taste the pudding…’Ntate Mahola loved it!
  • the men left full of American cooking and overflowing with joy from the study of God’s Word. Wednesdays have become one of our most favorite days.  Maybe just maybe God is giving us a start on the 100 men in 100 villages.  Each of these men live in different villages…north, south, east, and west….pray will ya?

    'Ntate Kantine, 'Ntate Mahola, 'Ntate Mislara, 'Ntate John, and 'Ntate Jimmy

     

 
 
 
 
My life…as the wife…of a Ninja.
 February 24, 2011 
One of My Favorite Pictures….February 20, 2011
 
Thank you Hamlin Baptist Church for “52 Weeks of Encouragement” !
Our home church, Hamlin Baptist in Springfield, MO, is blessing us over and over again!  Each month when we go to the post office, we have received at least 2 packages!  The packages are full of goodies, gifts, letters, cards, pictures.  We thank you Hamlin and love you for giving and loving our family.
White Oak Baptist in Walnut Ridge, AR has blessed ‘Me Matomo with 2 hens, a rooster, and a cage to protect them at night from the village wildcats. Her hen just hatched 3 new babies. We are hoping that ‘Me Matomo will be able to eventually be able to sale eggs to help feed her family. Thank you White Oak for giving your, “Change for Chickens.”
 
January 31, 2011
This morning Jimmy left early for the lowlands.  He has a lot of things on his “to do” list:  pay rent in Leribe, pick up our mail in Fouriesburg,SA…travel to Maseru to meet with team leader, Tom Melvin, pick up groceries for us and the Perryton team, buy dog and chicken feed, transport Sefiri’s new plow back to the mountains, get home in time for dinner.  When the girls and I hear the truck pull up in front of our house it is a race to see who can get to Dad first.  Pray for safety as he travels these crazy roads today.
I spent the early morning reading.  I am reading 3 books right now:  Self Talk, Soul Talk by Jennifer Rothschild.  Sara Jo gave me this book for Christmas.  All 3 of our daughter-in-laws are reading this book at the same time, along with me.  We read a chapter a week and then have email discussions about our thoughts.  Today I was reminded of something that I have known forever, but tend to forget.  Words are POWERFUL.  The words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart need to be pleasing in the sight of the Lord.  A long time ago, someone that I respected and loved said something to me that has forever imbedded itself in my heart.  This person called me “stupid.”  Now, I know that I am not stupid, at least most of the time I know it.  When I am being “human” and I make a mistake I remember the words from a long time ago and begin to think, well maybe I am stupid.  NO…the scripture teaches me that I am the workmanship of the Creator God.  Today, I will make sure that my words are pleasing in the sight of the Lord and that I believe what HE says about me and will not allow myself to believe a lie from the past. I will offer “life giving words” to my daughters, my husband, my friend and house helper, and to myself.
The second book I am reading is a book called, “Preach and Heal.”  This book talks about how in the life of the missionary, we can take the ministries of preaching and healing and reach the nations for Christ.  The thought is that we must crucify our identity to become what God is calling us to be.  What is your identity?  Maybe you are a teacher….because you are a teacher, have been trained as a teacher, work as a teacher doesn’t mean that you can’t become a healer when you come in contact with someone who is in need of healing.  Or maybe you are someone who is faithful at church, but you leave the teaching/ministering up to those who have been “trained” to do so.  I remember comments made in churches past, “let the preacher do it…that is what he went to school to do.”  As a result the person that made that comment, missed out on some of God’s richest blessings.  In order to be what God has called us to be it is sometimes necessary to “crucify” our identity in total abandonment to living a life obedience to Christ, whatever that may mean for each of us individually.
The third book I am reading is the kind of book that you can read and you don’t have to think.  The one I am reading now is one that I bought off the sale rack at a Christian bookstore in JoBurg for 10 rand.  There is very little plot, no crime scene, and it has a happy ending.
I am all about happy endings…thankfully Jesus Christ provided a “happy ending” for those who are Christians.  Someday, we will celebrate around the throne of God.  Together…for now, even though we are miles and miles apart…I hold you close in my heart.
Here are a few late pictures of Anna and Bekah on their birthdays this month.
 
 
January 29, 2011
 
 
January 26, 2011
Today, we were able to make a few visits to our villages.  The people seemed happy to see us.  When they haven’t seen you for a long time they will ask you, “Where have you been hiding?”  It has been over a month since we have been able to do any ministry.  Today we went by the Ha Khenene preschool to let the teacher know that the girls would be there on Monday to teach the children.  We told 3 villages that we would have church on Saturday, and told ‘Me MaTomo that we would return on Tuesday for Bible Study.  The girls and I are back in the swing of homeschool.  Thanks to Jimmy teaching while I was sick, we aren’t behind and should finish school on schedule.  Gracie is counting the days until the math book is finished.  We have finalized the plans for the Perryton team that will arrive on the 8th.  The most exciting part of their time with us (in my opinion) is the baptismal service that will happen on Feb 12th!  Bekah will be baptized along with several women who have accepted Christ since we began working here in Katse.  Baptism is such a BIG thing for the people.  They are telling the community that they no longer agree with the tradtional beliefs including ancestor worship. They risk being ridiculed and persecuted by taking this stand for Christ.
  Jimmy leaves early in the am for Mokhotlong.  He will not allow me to go because of the horrible roads that you have to drive on to get there.  I am pretty much grounded because of my shoulder. He has to go and pay Halijoe, the guard stationed on the land that we are trying to get…pray that they find the lease number!  Pray for traveling safety for him as he goes.  There are lots of rocks on the mountain roads because of all the rain that has been falling lately. 
 Tsepo and his bride to be are coming to spend the weekend with us.  Tsepo, if you remember, is our Person of Peace in  Mokhotlong, and his family has given us their farm to build on…if we EVER get that lease number!  🙂  All 3 of the girls are going to be in Tsepo’s wedding.  We bought dresses at the China store in Maseru.  They really are pretty and the girls look beautiful in them.  Tsepo called yesterday and said he was coming to spend the weekend with us to help the girls, “practice the steps.”  Gracie is a little apprehensive about the “step” part with Tsepo in charge.  His wedding will be the first Basotho wedding that we have been a part of.  He considers himself to be our “African son,” and I am a little apprehensive about what exactly that means in the Basotho culture.  Does he bring his bride to live with us?  Are we responsible for wedding costs?  The wedding is on the 5th, I will be sure to take lots of pictures to share with you. 
I guess I will go now and check on the cooks in the kitchen. While I was recovering from my hospital stay,  I copied tons of recipes from magazines to try out on the family. Jimmy isn’t too excited about the vegetable meatloaf we are having for dinner…he will probably hit the snack pantry later on tonight. 
 
January 11, 2011
 
It has been a long time since I have posted anything to my page.  I am finally feeling well enough to be able to sit up and think and write at the same time. I have thought about it and I have never been as sick as I have been the last week. I have  one more trip to the hospital and then hopefully they will take this annoying port out of my arm.  I would go into detail about the tiny germ that entered my elbow and possibly caused this entire chain of events,  but the purpose of this note is not about me.  I am writing to remind you, and also myself, of the greatness of God. 
Today, our baby son, Joshua and our daughter-in-law Stacy, were in a very bad accident.  The ice on the roads caused a horrible accident that resulted in pain.  Our kids are ok, on the outside.  Josh is bruised and beat up.  Stacy just had surgery on her wrist.  They will be ok.  My prayer is that the horrible experience that they both just faced is one that God uses to bring glory to Himself.  I pray that Josh and Stacy heal physically and emotionally, to completeness.  I pray that the testimony of life that they have will point others to Jesus.  As you think about them, pray for them and if you can let them know of your prayers.  As you pray for Jimmy and I, pray that we will stay strong in Christ because right now…I just want to hold my babies. 
 
 
Merry Christmas from Mammie…
 
It has been a good day, a busy day….we spent the day in the kitchen making and baking.  Me, with one arm…the girls and Jimmy were literally my right hand and arm.  I have been frustrated with this shoulder thing.  I have an appointment in January and am hoping and praying that God fixes my shoulder before that appointment.
We made tons of Christmas cookies to take to some of our friends in the village of Ha Khenene.  The girls were wilting by the time we finished the last one.  Jimmy felt sorry for us and helped with the final dozen or so.  I have this mental vision of what Christmas should look like and am having a hard time today, realizing that Christmas in Africa “looks” nothing like the Christmas past in America.  It seems that this time of the year is especially difficult for us.  We miss our kids, grandbabies, moms, siblings, and church family so very much.  In a moment of mulligrubs today, we let the girls open their biggest Christmas present.  We had the gifts wrapped in a blanket in the corner of our bedroom.  They have been there since the first part of November.  We kept telling them that it was a statue that we would unveil on January 7th. (a Christmas fib is not the same as a lie 🙂 ) Hidden under the blanket were 2 guitars for our future Christian recording artists.  Under the tree was a small keyboard complete with a microphone for Bekah.  They were so excited and keep saying…”I just can’t believe it, our biggest wish-next to being with our family.”
Tomorrow as you celebrate the miracle of Christmas, honoring Jesus the conquering King…take a minute to do something for me-hug your family extra hard, laugh and make memories, and then spend some time in prayer for the Basotho of the Maluti Mountains.  Tomorrow they will celebrate Christmas, but most have no idea what they are celebrating.  Merry Christmas from the Floras!  We love you!

Thank you to my sweet friends in Corpus Christi, TX for the vitamins and beautiful winter hats that you provided this month in a package. I can’t wait to bless the women of the village with your gift! May God bless you for loving the Basotho!

Thank you over and over again to Lora and David Albrecht in Colorado for the packages you have sent with crocheted winter hats for the women. I wish you could be here this winter to help me give them away.

Thank you thank you, Fellowship Baptist, Sidney Montana for the wooden toys for the little boys of the villages. What a joy to give them their only toy!

You should have seen the Christmas boxes we received from Selmore Baptist, Selmore, MO and Fellowship. The packages were crammed packed with gifts for our family (good smelling things for me J ) for Christmas. We especially enjoyed the CD’s. One of our favorites was of a dear friend, Phillip Hall. He was a member of our church years ago. Thanks to the Halls for sending it to us. Selmore and Fellowship are two of our “go deep” partners. Their pastors are two brothers that have been friends of ours for years. We love you guys!

 

Thanks to Glenda and Project Patricia from Kansas City, MO for providing cloth sanitary pads for the young girls and women in our villages.  Because of your gift, the young girls no longer have to miss school for a week each month.

THANK YOU THANK YOU FROM THE FLORAS AND THE MOUNTAIN BASOTHO

 

Carrying her wash up the mountain from the riverbed

Who would have ever guessed, when I met Jimmy Flora in the 7th grade that someday I would be spending my life with him in Africa? Life for the Flora family is anything but boring! We live in a home that is full of laughter, sometimes tears, and people from the mountains of Lesotho. Today, I spent the day teaching school, drawing penguins, grading papers, planning meals, making a shopping list…all sitting across the table from a ninja! For years, Jimmy has told our kids and the kids in our various youth groups, that he was a ninja. Every now and then he jumps and kicks a few times, just to confirm his identity. We laugh and make fun of his moves. The girls love it. ‘Me Thato thinks that he is hilarious and they all laugh at his jokes and dances. Most of the time I think he is funny, but I have to admit, after being married to the same man for almost 35 years, some of his jokes are not quite as funny as they were in the 7th grade. I tried to convince the girls that if they would just stop laughing at them, he would give it up!

Sometimes I almost feel guilty for the blessings and joy in my life. When I go into the mountain villages, we always come across a woman or young girl whose life is almost unbearable. This past week was no exception. In the village of Ha Khenene, there is a woman who I have treated a few times for an abcessed tooth. I always encourage her to make the 2 hour taxi ride to the nearest “dentist”, but realize that as poor as she is, this is impossible. On Tuesday, she came to our Bible study. Her tooth had been pulled by the local “tooth puller” in the village…no anesthesia, no sterile technique, no post surgery care instructions. I cannot imagine the pain that she experienced.

Then there is the woman living on top of the mountain who is dying of cancer. She lies on her mat, unable to walk and unable to turn over without experiencing horrible pain. One of the new Christians in the village has taken it upon herself to visit the woman daily, bathe her, and try to bring some comfort to the agony she is experiencing. Neither of the women have enough money between them to purchase a bar of soap.

As we drive away from the village of Ha Khenene, there are 3 students walking down the road, high school students. Two boys are walking/dragging a young girl. Her head is thrown back and she is making loud noises, not really crying…almost a cry/growl. ‘Me Thato tells us that she is suffering from a demon and that this behavior is common among the high school girls that attend school in the mountains.

I cannot forget the 6 young girls that came to Bible study. I recognized them from my True Love Waits classes that we held last year. When I asked them why they were not in school, they replied, “it is because we do not have a tie to wear.” A neck tie is a required part of the school uniform. These girls parents sacrifice everything for their children to attend school. Most of them do not live with their parents, but live together in a common stone house that is closer to the school grounds. If they do not have the correct sweater, skirt, socks, shoes, tie…they are expelled from school. This makes NO sense to me at all. Lesotho’s illiteracy rate is high. Instead of allowing children with the desire to learn the opportunity to learn, they are expelled because they do not have a tie.

At the local creche, the woman is a gentle quiet woman, who teaches 20 preschool students. The wind blows in through the broken window panes, the ceiling tiles have fallen exposing the rotting wood beams. She moved to the village for the job opportunity. She lives with a large family that sometimes withholds her food. Above her left eye, she has stitches. A drunken man beat her and left her bleeding. To make matters worse, she is HIV+, malnourished, and tired.

Sometimes the life of a wife of a ninja is rough. I do not have the resources or solutions to many of the problems that the women of Lesotho face. My prayer is that they find Truth, Light, Hope, in Jesus…and that once they find Him…they will discover JOY in the midst of their pain.

Today was a really good day in the village of Ha Khenene.  The people there are so faithful in their attendance and we have been meeting with them for so long, that we have tons of fun laughing together.  I normally begin our study time together with a short recap of the girl’s Bible story, a scripture memory contest, or telling a story leading up to the time when Jimmy will preach.  Today, I was so excited to hear one of the faithful women stand and recite John 14:6, our verse from last week.  Jimmy is doing a series of message on Jesus saying, “I Am!”.  In Sesotho the words are, “Ke na!”  Today,  he taught them that Jesus said, “I am the Light.”  We then went to the book of Psalms and Isaiah and showed them the scriptures where the Lord refers to Himself as the Light and also where Isaiah talks about the Light to the nations coming…the Messiah. We are trying to get the people to a place of understanding where the come to the conclusion that Jesus is really God, one in the same.  So far, they can recite….
Ke na tsela-I am the way
Ke na ‘nete-I am the truth
Ke na bophelo-I am the life
Ke na leseli-I am the light
What a wonderful realization…Jesus is THE WAY, Jesus is THE TRUTH, Jesus is THE LIFE, Jesus is THE LIGHT.
Pray that the Basotho begin to truly understand that NO one gets to the Father unless they first meet Jesus!
  Will you consider asking God if He would have you come and help us share the Truth with these precious people?
 
 
 

March 9, 2011

The day began with me flipping eggs for Flora Jacks to feed the kids, the house helper, and the man who is temporarily employed by the Flora household 3 days/week until his full time job begins…whenever that may be.

Jimmy leaves to pick up his student pastors

I ask ‘Ntate John to trim the SMALL tree limbs sprouting off the tree trunk…apparently SMALL and small mean something entirely different to the Masotho man holding the saw. We now have some very nice tree trunks in our yard and a yard full of potsi (firewood) for ‘Me Thato

The gate bell rings. I had just told Jimmy last night that I bet ‘Me Maliphoa comes to the house with 3 women this week. Two weeks ago, she came alone, last Wednesday she brought ‘Me MaThomo, today sure enough…3 women. ‘Me Maliphoa invited them to come to pastor training. I told them that “pastor training” was for the pastors, that I was teaching the girls and cooking, could they please come back another day and we would sit down together and study the Bible?

The gate bell rings. The ‘Me that works across the alley from us has a problem. Her rondavel burned to ground last Wednesday. She escaped with only the clothes she was wearing and several burns. I treated her burns, shared Christ with her, and challenged her to seek peace through Jesus Christ…after receiving some towels, hygiene products and a few articles of clothing, she returned to work.

Cooked chicken and wild rice, beans, mac and cheese, homemade bread, peach cobbler, and homemade ice cream ( I know…too many carbs…but these guys are scrawny and they love to eat!) Enjoyed watching the men eating and eating and eating and eating!

Listened to my husband teach the Word of God with such passion! He is having such a good time meeting with them each week. They are so eager to learn and so faithful to attend. Pray that the words sink into their hearts.

Held the hand of my friend…prayed with her…shared God’s Word with her. Challenged her to stay strong in her new faith, to trust God in ALL things, to cling to Jesus….she is afraid…she is sad…yesterday she was raped.

Her husband came to me the next day. With tears in his eyes, he told me what had happened and admitted he didn’t know what to do to help her. We picked her up at her home, she was quiet and held tightly to her baby that was still sucking from her breast. The mountain clinic nurses were familiar with me and allowed me to stay with her as they interviewed her about the rape. She was tested for HIV, and because she was negative, they were able to begin her on anti-viral therapy in case the rapist was positive. They told her she would need to go to the hospital in the lowlands to receive the “morning after” pill. The told her that she would need to “get rid” of that “thing” if she became pregnant by the man who raped her. She is only 21 years old, too young to face such difficult decisions. The nurses told me that I must take her to the hospital immediately. In fact, they said it was an emergency.

The right to live…if there is a baby, doesn’t it have the right to live? I told the young wife, my new friend, my new sister in Christ, that only God has the right to give life and to take life. If there is a baby that comes from this difficult thing that she has experienced, isn’t God in control? God did not cause the rapist to enter her home, sin caused that to happen.

After talking to the young woman and her husband, they decided that if God chooses to give them a baby, they will love it and care for it. They understand that God has not turned His back on them. They know that He loves them and will always love them.

Believing that God is all powerful, all knowing, all loving….knowing that He keeps His promises and that He hates sin….I wonder why? I have to believe that He has everything under control….if a baby is born, I will help them love it. I will model forgiveness. I will keep sharing His Word and teaching the woman how she should grow in Christ.

On this past Monday, Jimmy and I invited the nurses and clinic staff from the mountain clinic to our home for dinner. When they had finished eating, I asked if they would like for me to share some scripture with them from the Word of God. I shared from the scripture why I believe that only God can take a life. I explained why I could not be a part of administering the “morning after pill.” They smiled in understanding, but still shaking their head in the belief that this young couple will raise this “thing” if a baby was conceived. Maybe, if I am faithful to continue to share, even the clinic staff will come to an understanding of just Who God is.

 
The name of Jesus, is a refuge, a shelter from the storm, a help for those who call,
The name of Jesus, is a fortress, a saving place to run,
A hope unshakeable

 

There is power in Your name

There is power in Your name

In the name of Jesus there is power and healing

Chains are broken in Your name

Every knee will bow down and our hearts will cry out

Songs of freedom in Your name, in Your name

Bring salvation

Bring Your Kingdom

Let all that you have made bring glory to Your name

When we fall You are the Savior

When we call You are the answer

There is power in Your name

By Chris Tomlin

Gracie and Baby Grunt, last October

 

 
As I sit here tonight, I fight discouragement. I was so hopeful that the baby girl would grow up and learn about Jesus from her grandmother. In my dreams, I could see the two of them walking hand in hand, down the dirt road to the village of Makoabateng. Sunday morning, a group of believer’s gathered, ’Ntate Kantine standing before them, his Bible opened to bring the day’s message. I am sad. The life of the African child at times seems so hopeless. I remember giving birth to our sons. We had every possible resource at hand to insure a safe delivery, and a healthy child. The African, living in the rural village, accepts the fact that the clinic is out of medicine, that it takes 6 or more hours to walk there, and that they have no right to privacy, no right to information, no rights period. Hundreds of thousands of missionaries have experienced the feelings that Jimmy, Gracie, Anna, Bekah, and I are struggling with tonight. Please take time to lift up your missionaries that are serving all over the world. Ask God to be the encouragement of their heart.
Baby Grunt

The day began with me flipping eggs for Flora Jacks to feed the kids, the house helper, and the man who is temporarily employed by the Flora household 3 days/week until his full time job begins…whenever that may be.

Jimmy leaves to pick up his student pastors

I ask ‘Ntate John to trim the SMALL tree limbs sprouting off the tree trunk…apparently SMALL and small mean something entirely different to the Masotho man holding the saw. We now have some very nice tree trunks in our yard and a yard full of potsi (firewood) for ‘Me Thato

The gate bell rings. I had just told Jimmy last night that I bet ‘Me Maliphoa comes to the house with 3 women this week. Two weeks ago, she came alone, last Wednesday she brought ‘Me MaThomo, today sure enough…3 women. ‘Me Maliphoa invited them to come to pastor training. I told them that “pastor training” was for the pastors, that I was teaching the girls and cooking, could they please come back another day and we would sit down together and study the Bible?

The gate bell rings. The ‘Me that works across the alley from us has a problem. Her rondavel burned to ground last Wednesday. She escaped with only the clothes she was wearing and several burns. I treated her burns, shared Christ with her, and challenged her to seek peace through Jesus Christ…after receiving some towels, hygiene products and a few articles of clothing, she returned to work.

Cooked chicken and wild rice, beans, mac and cheese, homemade bread, peach cobbler, and homemade ice cream ( I know…too many carbs…but these guys are scrawny and they love to eat!) Enjoyed watching the men eating and eating and eating and eating!

Listened to my husband teach the Word of God with such passion! He is having such a good time meeting with them each week. They are so eager to learn and so faithful to attend. Pray that the words sink into their hearts.

Held the hand of my friend…prayed with her…shared God’s Word with her. Challenged her to stay strong in her new faith, to trust God in ALL things, to cling to Jesus….she is afraid…she is sad…yesterday she was raped.

Her husband came to me the next day. With tears in his eyes, he told me what had happened and admitted he didn’t know what to do to help her. We picked her up at her home, she was quiet and held tightly to her baby that was still sucking from her breast. The mountain clinic nurses were familiar with me and allowed me to stay with her as they interviewed her about the rape. She was tested for HIV, and because she was negative, they were able to begin her on anti-viral therapy in case the rapist was positive. They told her she would need to go to the hospital in the lowlands to receive the “morning after” pill. The told her that she would need to “get rid” of that “thing” if she became pregnant by the man who raped her. She is only 21 years old, too young to face such difficult decisions. The nurses told me that I must take her to the hospital immediately. In fact, they said it was an emergency.

The right to live…if there is a baby, doesn’t it have the right to live? I told the young wife, my new friend, my new sister in Christ, that only God has the right to give life and to take life. If there is a baby that comes from this difficult thing that she has experienced, isn’t God in control? God did not cause the rapist to enter her home, sin caused that to happen.

After talking to the young woman and her husband, they decided that if God chooses to give them a baby, they will love it and care for it. They understand that God has not turned His back on them. They know that He loves them and will always love them.

Believing that God is all powerful, all knowing, all loving….knowing that He keeps His promises and that He hates sin….I wonder why? I have to believe that He has everything under control….if a baby is born, I will help them love it. I will model forgiveness. I will keep sharing His Word and teaching the woman how she should grow in Christ.

On this past Monday, Jimmy and I invited the nurses and clinic staff from the mountain clinic to our home for dinner. When they had finished eating, I asked if they would like for me to share some scripture with them from the Word of God. I shared from the scripture why I believe that only God can take a life. I explained why I could not be a part of administering the “morning after pill.” They smiled in understanding, but still shaking their head in the belief that this young couple will raise this “thing” if a baby was conceived. Maybe, if I am faithful to continue to share, even the clinic staff will come to an understanding of just Who God is.

Responses

  1. Better be careful with those biscuits if Gracie made them. She has a tendency to put in the wrong stuff.

  2. Teresa,

    Happy Belated Birthday! You were truly thought about and prayed for on your birthday, but not actually sent until today.

    This is one of those school years where I am meeting myself coming and going. This too shall pass.

    Thanks for sharing some of your adventures.

    Love,
    Susie Compton

  3. Teresa,

    I haven’t heard how your shoulder is doing. Did you go to the doctor while in South Africa? We wish you and all your family a wonderful Christmas. Everytime I hear “Go Tell It On The Mountain!” I’m reminded of you. I check your blogs every day to keep up with the latest news and prayer requests. Don’t ever think we have forgotten you! We pray for you daily, and for the people there. God is doing great things!
    Love, Martha Templeton

  4. Teresa,
    I haven’t written in a while. Please forgive me. I have heard about your shoulder. Please let me know what you find out in January. Also, send me a list of things you need or would like to have. I have learned to use the term “need” carefully with you. “Would like” to haves are not bad things. I will either send them myself, or place a bug in the ear of the people ready to send boxes to you from Hamlin. We love and miss you guys and think of you more often than you would believe. Be safe!

  5. Teresa,

    I’m glad you’re getting well, and hope your shoulder will soon be well, also.
    Thanks for the updates on events there! This has been quite a week for you.

    The girls looked so pretty in the wedding pictures.

    I can’t wait to hear more about the trips this week into the villages, and the baptismal service Saturday.

    Love, Martha

  6. I just want to tell you again how much I love your writings — my Christmases have no resemblance to what they used to be either — I love you — Mam-Maw

  7. .Dear Teresa, I remember a little boy(all by himself) roaming out in the pasture “doing battle” with some imaginary foe — I guess he was always a Ninja!!!I love you!! Mam-Maw

  8. Teresa, thank you so much for welcoming or team in your beautiful home. Your family is amazing!!! I miss you all so much. Tell the girls I love them!!! And, tell the “Ninja” I said hi. Haha. Love you.

    Love in Christ,
    Tabitha

  9. hey friend, absolutely LOVED your latest blog entry. 😉

  10. Ok, I’m kind of scared by the “drinkie” reference???:-)lol

  11. I pray that the grandmother will find salvation and with it the understanding that someday she can see the baby girl in Jesus’ garden of children —

  12. See “about us” for info on Sachi.

  13. I haven’t written in quite a while, but have had you in my prayers often, my friend. If it is not too much to ask, then please pray for our great-nephew. He has been in St. Louis since the Thursday of spring break awaiting a heart transplant. Quinton received a Berlin heart several weeks ago. He is doing as well as can be expected, with a mechanical heart. God’s time is perfect. He will be at ST. Louis Children’s Hospital until after he receives his new heart. Now, you know what has occupied some of our time lately. Lonnie and Brandon have been in the Hididng Place at Stained Glass theater. It has been sold out almost every night. Corrie Ten Boom’s story is a little more well known than some of the story.
    Izayah is doing well. Are you counting the days until your babies come to visit?

  14. Teresa, this is the first time I have read your blog, and it is fascinating. Thank you for your loving service to our Lord.

    We had a WMU program on June 8 centered around Korby Griffith and Justin Morgan. I found the information I needed regarding their ministry on their blog, and information on Lesotho on Wikpedia, in fact, I was not able to use all of it because of our time frame. They were focused in “Prayer Patterns” on June 7th in the MISSIONS MOSIAC.

    May God continue to bless your family, both there and here, and may you have the peace, joy, patience and perseverence that only Jesus can give.

    Inez Griffin

  15. I have no words. Just a heart filled with emotion and many prayers .
    Love you.
    Karen

  16. Just looking at everything on your blogs this morning made me sad. I already miss you but especially the people. You are right–there is so much “lostness” –you can feel it. I am praying for you and your family as you continue to minister. I am praying for the people and especially the children. Carrying baby Tsepo on my back was a special time for me. Hugging the children, bonding with the people and seeing the smiles on the faces of the Basotho touched my heart. I will continue to pray for all of you. A special Basotho “handshake” to all of you.

  17. Teresa, I miss you. Truly you are the Proverbs 31 woman! I call you Superwoman myself! You do it all girlfriend! I cannot even begin to imagine all the ways you and the family have blessed the Basotho and I know how they have blessed you too. Stay well my friend. I pray for you and the Basotho daily. You are in our hearts. Love you…Babs

  18. My dear sweet friend!! I finally found you, I have been looking for so long. We are having revival this week and when I came home tonight , i prayed please Lord let me find Teresa, God is so Good, I found you. I see you are in Africa, we just had to Watoto Children here sunday, we kept 4 and I would have loved to keep them all. I know you are doing a wonderful job and a blessing to the people there. I am so thankful God brought you into my life and now I can pray for you everyday and your work there. I loved seeing the pictures, would like to see one of you. We have a new Pastor, Jimmy Reed, we love him and his family so much, If you come home on leave we would love to have you speak at our church, Bro Jimmy is very mission minded and would love to have you speak. Please tell your Jimmy hello, so proud of you two, please keep in touch. How long have you been there? I will write to you on your email also. I love you and pray Gods best to you. Linda Chandler


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